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Esther

king mordecai ahasuerus haman

The life of Esther is described in the Old Testament book bearing her name. She is acclaimed (and celebrated in the Jewish festival of Purim) for having prevented the massacre of *Jews in the Persian empire by her courageous intercession to King *Ahasuerus. Esther had become the wife of Ahasuerus after he dismissed his previous queen, Vashti; when Ahasuerus chose Esther to be queen, he was unaware that she was Jewish. She was an orphan, raised by her cousin *Mordecai, who was an enemy of *Haman, the chief minister of the king and an enemy of the Jews. When Haman decreed that all Jews in the kingdom were to be killed, Mordecai asked Esther to approach the king to prevent this from happening. She did this successfully, although she endangered her life by boldly approaching the king unsummoned. She prepared a great banquet for the king and Haman, and the king granted her request. Haman was hung on the gallows he had intended for Mordecai, and Mordecai took Haman’s place at court. Events from the life of Esther represented in medieval art include her marriage to Ahasuerus, her kneeling as a   suppliant before the king, and the king indicating his favor to her by raising his golden sceptre. In Christian interpretation, Esther is typologically related to the Virgin *Mary in prefiguring Mary’s intercession with *God for humankind as well as Mary’s *Coronation in *heaven
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